‘Mormon Land’: After death, LDS historian Kate Holbook reached ‘all the way to the center of me,’ says her widowed husband

A deeply personal and poignant podcast reflects on her life and celebrates her new book, “Both Things Are True,” as the beloved scholar’s voice and views live on.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A new book is out from Latter-day Saint historian Kate Holbrook, shown in 2018 and who died in 2022, titled “Both Things Are True.”

Barely a month after Kate Holbrook died, her widowed husband, Dr. Samuel Brown, heard her voice.

He was walking around New York and listening to the Maxwell Institute’s interview with Holbrook, a professional historian with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

During her five decades of life, Holbrook connected to hundreds of Latter-day Saint women in the present and elevated the lives of scores of women from the past.

Now Holbrook’s voice is speaking to a new, even wider audience in a new book, titled “Both Things Are True.”

“My dead beloved,” Brown writes about that Manhattan moment in the book’s epilogue, “reached … all the way to the center of me.”

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Kate Holbrook, a historian in the Church History Department who died in 2022, appears in devotional with apostle Quentin L. Cook, left, and fellow historian Matt Grow, in 2018.

And at least one of these five essays touches her husband in his grief. The piece on housework “is beautiful and thoughtful and provocative and does really important things for thinking about the shape of relationships with men and women,” he says in this deeply personal and poignant podcast. “But it was also, I think, her making sure I knew she forgave me for having been a pain…for the first 10 years of our marriage.…I had been a busy academic and had not really shown up for housework.”

Though Brown changed and became more involved in helping at home, the essay was his wife’s way of assuring him.

These five essays together “chart a path through the heart of Kate’s faith,” Rosalynde Frandsen Welch writes in the prologue. The pieces speak to history, belief, spirituality, community and the beauty of housework and cooking.

On this week’s show, Brown, an intensive care unit physician and writer, along with Welch, a senior research fellow at BYU’s Maxwell Institute and host of its podcast, discuss Holbrook’s book, their memories and how her words live on.

Listen here: